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Get ready for the understatement of the century: I really like to travel. And so, it’s no surprise that I make a habit of using up all my paid vacation days every year. But what if travel just isn’t your thing?
Even if you don’t have the desire (or current means) to travel, it’s still worth using up all your vacation days on Staycations, aka “vacations at home”, especially if you’re able to enjoy that downtime with a partner. And really, if you put in the same amount of planning towards your Staycation ideas as you would an actual Vacation, there’s no reason it can’t be just as exciting and restorative!
So without further ado, here are 10 fun staycation ideas I’d recommend for using up those extra vacation days, even if you don’t feel like leaving the house.
Staycation Idea #1: Plan a themed movie night in your own living room.
This is a great idea for a Staycation, or even just a fancy date night. The idea is to pick a movie (or, even better for a Staycation, a series of movies) with a particular theme, and then transform your living room to go along with it. Add in some food, delivered by Seamless, Favor, or any of the other myriad local delivery services, and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled many miles without even setting a foot outside.
Some of my favorite movie options for this include:
- 300 / Gladiator / Aladdin — Push the furniture to the corners, place pillows and cushions on the ground like it’s your own private harem, and cover the windows with tapestries or colorful sheets/towels. Then order mediterranean food, pour some wine and feast like a King.
- James Bond/007 Series — Dress up in evening wear and kick things off with a pitcher of martinis, shaken, not stirred. Order dinner from a fancy Steakhouse, or make Mr. Bond’s favorite meal yourself: scrambled eggs.
- Your favorite Ninja movies — Order in delivery sushi (or make some of your own poke bowls) and sit on the ground on tatami mats.
Staycation Idea #2: Go camping in your backyard
Yes, it’s shocking, but the hubby has finally turned me into the type of person who actually enjoys camping. However, even if you’re not a big outdoor fanatic, it’s easy to borrow a little camping gear from a friend, pitch a tent in your backyard (or a friend’s backyard!) and at least *pretend* you’re roughing it for a couple days. Bonus points if you have a fire pit and actually do your cooking over it. (Here are some of my favorite camping recipes!) Extra super bonus points if you turn off your wifi and leave your electronics in the house!
Staycation Idea #3: Order a meal delivery kit and cook it together
I’ve written about meal delivery kits on this blog before, having tried & reviewed all the major companies. And if you’re a foodie, these kits could help you to dedicate an entire day to cooking and eating with your significant other.
My favorite company, Plated, usually has at least a couple recipes that could work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on their menus: for example, in last month’s “encore” recipe options, they offered smoked salmon & goat cheese pizza (kind of like a creative interpretation of bagel & lox!) as well as a black bean burrito (add in some scrambled eggs, and it’s now a breakfast burrito!) Either would work well for breakfast. They also have options for sliders and salads that would be good for lunch options, as well as the more traditional dinner fare.
So, instead of using the meal delivery kit across three different dinners, for your staycation, just fill your shipment with a meal choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner (and maybe even add a dessert) all for the same day. (Remember to get it delivered for the day *before* your Staycation starts.) Then spend your day cooking, eating, and cleaning up together.
Staycation Idea #4: Set yourself a media consumption “challenge”
People always talk about binge-watching like it’s a bad thing. But if you’re normally a 9-to-5-er, I can guarantee you that very few things will ever feel as luxurious or pleasurable as staying home from work on a random weekday to watch your way through an entire season of a show on Netflix. Or playing through an entire video game. Or reading a book cover to cover. On like, a Tuesday, in your pajamas, while all your coworkers are busy slaving away for the man. It’s a great feeling.
Staycation Idea #5: Recreate summer camp
If you’re the type of person who never takes a day off because “what else am I going to do? I’ll just sit around and get bored!” Then setting up a “summer camp” for yourself and/or your significant other is the perfect way to take a few days off. The key is creating a schedule full of fun activities that recapture your favorite things from being a kid. For example:
- 9am – 10am: Rocketry (Order a model rocket kit off Amazon, and build it with your significant other.)
- 10am – 11am: Hiking (Find a local trail, or if you’re not that outdoorsy, just take a stroll in your neighborhood or take your dog to a dog park)
- 11am – Noon: Chow (Grab a kids meal from a fast food spot to indulge in old favorites!)
- Noon – 2pm: Pool Time! (Visit a neighborhood pool. As most folks are in work or school, you’ll have it to yourself!)
- 2pm – 3pm: Arts & Crafts (There are lots of craft kits if you’re interested in something specific, otherwise unwind with some nice colored pencils and an adult coloring book.)
- 3pm – 4pm: Quiet Time (take a nap, read a book, or write some actual old-fashioned letters or postcards to friends)
- 4pm – 5pm: Dance Party (Put on any Spotify channel and just dance! If you want more structure, find a dance instructional video on Netflix.)
Here’s a list of all kinds of “DIY Summer Camp” activities I found. Just pick whatever appeals to you!
Staycation Idea #6: Give yourself a home spa day
There’s nothing like a little self-pampering to make yourself feel special, and if you can get your significant other in on the action, even better. Leading up to your Staycation, head to Amazon and order some bath bombs, face masks, massage oil, a manicure kit…whatever floats your boat. Then spend your day giving yourself or each other “treatments” Don’t forget to whip up a pitcher of chilled cucumber water to sip on and throw on some Enya on the stereo to really ensure you’ve got an authentic spa feel.
Staycation Idea #7: Volunteer in your community
If you’ve ever found yourself saying “oh, I’d love to help XYZ group with their mission…but I have to work,” well, here’s your chance. See if you can sign up for shifts at area non-profits. In particular, food banks, nature clean-up organizations, and animal rescue groups often need community volunteers, and are usually able to put you to work without a long term commitment. Just make sure to check in a week or so before your Staycation about any requirements: some places require background checks or volunteer training before you’re allowed to join them in giving back.
Staycation Idea #8: In the winter, practice “Hygge”
Hygge is a Scandinavian word meaning “to make cozy.” A staycation when it’s cold outside is a great opportunity to practice perfecting the art of Hygge.
Things that could be described as Hygge would be things like a roaring fire in the fireplace, scented candles, comfortable pajamas, thick wool socks, warm blankets, hot cocoa (or, yes, even all-things pumpkin spiced), snuggling with a pet, even fresh-baked breads and pastries. Really, anything that brings you comfort and contentment.
Since the goal of a Staycation is really about relaxing, it seems like a perfect time to see just how Hygge you can become.
Staycation Idea #9: Be a tourist in your hometown
Chances are, if you live in a mid-size to large city, there are a number of places you visited once or twice when you first moved to town, and have since written off to the tourists. In Austin, for me, this would include spots like Barton Springs Pool, Dirty Sixth Street, and the Texas State History Museum. But if you’re looking for Staycation ideas, it’s the perfect time to go rediscover your town’s own hotspots. Go check out a museum, take a tour, or sign up for a class offered in your city. And don’t forget to mention you’re a local — a lot of tourist-oriented activities like theme parks and museums often offer a “locals discount” on admission prices, or even a specific day of the week when admission is free for locals.
Staycation Idea #10: Create an ultimate tasting event
Have you ever wondered, definitively, which fried chicken chain is the best? Or which breakfast cereal? How about which brand of peanut butter? Or boxed wine?
If you’re taking a few days off, that could be the perfect time to eat through all the available options within a specific category of food, and declare one variety the hands down winner. To make this even more fun, construct a scoreboard with all the “nominees”, then have you and your partner rate each submission on a variety of categories (flavor? cost? texture? color?) until a winner emerges. If nothing else, you’ll at least have an interesting answer for “so, what’d you do over your staycation?”
So those are my ten top staycation ideas. I wish I could do all of them right now! How do you like to Staycation? Tell me in the comments!